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Ask The Mayor: Kokomo's Goodnight On Statehouse, Kokomo Beach

Greg Goodnight

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

Winter weather has been taking a toll on Kokomo roads, Kokomo Beach upgrades, and reaction from the statehouse on the hate crimes bill, annexation, and township reform.

On this week’s installment of Ask The Mayor, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight addresses these issues and more. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk anchor Joe Hren by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below. A portion of this segment airs 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. Wednesday on WFIU.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Hren: Let's just start with the top three things on the mayor's desk in Kokomo.

Goodnight: Really working on finalizing some of the projects we started last year. The student housing private development going out by Indiana University Kokomo and really starting to put together road projects for this coming spring. Making sure we have our priorities in line, resurfacing, including some sidewalk projects. We still have a couple of pieces along the trail to make sure we have those connectors for our Industrial Heritage Trail.

Road construction, Markland Ave. wasn't completed last year and they'll finish up as soon as the full crew gets back in the spring, they're not doing work over the winter. We're also doing some utility work on the south side of Kokomo on Lincoln Road, we're doing a major reconstruction of Lincoln Road between Webster Street and Park Road this year, which includes some sewer work and mitigation of flooding.

Hren: I wanted to get your take on some of the Indiana Legislature bills that are moving forward, first off - the hate crimes bill that has been stripped down and once again, no longer counts as true hate crimes legislation. Do you agree with Governor Holcomb that Indiana needs a hate crimes bill?

Goodnight: I do. I think he recognizes that being on that list of five states that don't have a hate crime law in place really hurts us when it comes to economic development, for tourism, for how we're looked at by peer states, it's really about economic development that we are a tolerant group of people that we respect other people.

Hren: Where's the disconnect in the state over this hate crimes bill?

Goodnight: I think I saw something that said 70 percent of in Indiana live in a city or town, I might have this wrong, but yet 70 percent of the members of the Indiana House and Senate live in a rural area. So their personal lives are in rural areas and a state is only as strong as its cities and towns. So the better Indianapolis does, the better the state does. So not passing legislation that does not improve our cities, that hurts the entire state. 

Hren: I have to bring up township reform because we talked about this last year and you were adamant that the level of township government wasn't necessary, but as we see again this year, not much is changing except more accountability toward township budgets.

Goodnight: Yeah, well not that you don't have the responsibilities of the trustees, but I think they can easily be converted into a county-wide trustee. We have 11 townships in Howard County, I think I could name all 11 townships, maybe 9 of the 11, but I could not name all of the 11 elected trustees. And I think we have over a thousand townships in Indiana, those could be consolidated.

It's amazing the mindset is that we have the perfect system with these townships exactly the way they were designed.

Hren: Looks like you're moving forward on Kokomo Beach renovations?

Goodnight: Kokomo Beach is our community pool, it's been open 18 years. We made some upgrades, but now we're adding amenities for middle age kids that are too small for the big slides but too old to be at the splash pad. And we're doing this without raising the price to get in. It's $5 to get to the city pool and we're pretty proud of that.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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